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Mr. Smarty Plants - Identification of vine in Pennsylvania

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Monday - June 11, 2012

From: Palmerton, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification, Vines
Title: Identification of vine in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have several vine plants growing in my deck planters from last season. The leaves are 9 pointed, it looks more like 7, but there are 2 little points at the very bottom of the larger leaves. When the leaves are younger, they look identical to pot leaves. The seem to start at 5, then go to 7, then mature at the 9. At the end of the season they grow "flowers", which again look similar to pot. They are little white bundles, but look like they have small white "hairs". There is no real identifying odor. The vines grow pretty fast, and like to reach out and grab things then twist around it. I have tried to find this on the internet for over a year with no luck. Any ideas? Pics can be provided.

ANSWER:

You can find native vines that grow in Pennsylvania by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and choosing "Pennsylvania" from the Select State or Province Slot and "Vine" from Habit (general appearance).  This search results in a list of 71 native vines growing in Pennsylvania.  You can scroll through them and read about them.   Most of them have accompanying photos.  For the ones without photos on the species page, you can scroll to the bottom of the particular species page to the section called Additional Resources and click on the Google link for the species to find photographs on the Internet.  When I scrolled through the list I found these species that looked vaguely like the description you gave:

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Parthenocissus vitacea (Hiedra creeper).  Here are photos and more information from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness.

Since the plants are growing in your deck planters (did you plant them there?) I suspect that the vines are not vines native to North America.  Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America so we are not going to be much help identifying non-native plants.  It is possible that your vines are Cannabis sativa ssp. sativa, since this subspecies is described as being vinelike sometimes.  However, I could find nothing that describes them as twining around objects.  If neither of the two vines shown above are the vines in your planter, I suggest that you take photos of them and visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that accept photos of plants for identification.

 

From the Image Gallery


Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

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